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Isaiah 15 and 16 (Moab)

The judgments against other nations, that started in Chapters 13 and 14, continue here.


Chapter 15


Isaiah begins with an oracle:

  • In a single night- Ar and Kir experience swift devastation and ruin
  • They are weeping and wailing in the high places for Nebo and Medeba
  • So much grief they'll pull out all of their hair to bald and cut off all of their beards.
  • Sackcloth and tears in public and private.
  • Crying across the land.
  • Armed men cry aloud.
  • His soul trembles within him.
  • Men have been sent far away running from the enemy (Assyria)
  • Even their resources are scattered. No water, no grass, nothing green.

It ends with a personal note from the Lord:

For the waters of Dimon are full of blood; Surely I will bring added woes upon Dimon, a Lion upon the fugitives of Moab and upon the remnant of the land.

Isaiah 15:9

They went to the temple of false gods to grieve the failure of the gods to save them. This is an indictment on them for failing to see the God of the universe, but may also be an indictment on Israel for failing to shine God's light to even the most closely related neighbors. Makes me question if I'm doing all I can.

I wonder if Moab is accounted for in the end time theology, and if so if this oracle is as relevant to the future as the Babylon oracles. I'll be curious if the commentators mention it.

Chapter 16


This is a continuation of the oracle.

Verses 1-5

Well, the first five verses of Chapter 16 seem to answer my own question above. This definitively reads like end-times.

  • Moab refugees hiding out in Sela (which is Petra, the capitol of Edom) will send a tribute lamb to the ruler of Judah.
  • They ask to be resettled there.
  • They claim the "bad behavior" has stopped (extortioner, destruction, oppressors are all gone)

Then this, that sounds a lot like Jesus in the end:

A throne will be established in lovingkindness, and a judge will sit on it in faithfulness in the tent of David; moreover, he will seek justice and be prompt in righteousness.

Isaiah 16:5
  • throne/lovingkindness
  • judge/faithfulness
  • justice/righteousness

These were words that were not associated in that era. Rulers could be cruel and selfish. Judges could be bought. Justice was often corrupted.

But God.

There is a time coming, and already is, when He sits on that throne as the perfect King, Priest, and Judge. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Verses 6-7

Moab receives a response to her request for a return to the land. It's a firm "no."

  • excessive pride
  • arrogance, pride, an fury
  • idle boasts
  • Instead there will be much wailing
  • "You shall moan for the raisin cakes of Kirhareseth" (the Ryrie footnote says these raisin cakes were used for offerings.)
  • stricken

Verses 8-12

The next section of verses seem to describe what they will receive instead of their request for returning to their former land.

  • fields and vines withered
  • trampled by their enemies
  • He will weep bitterly for Jazer, Sibmah, Heshbron, and Elealeh. (It catches my eye that it seems like this is describing the Lord grieving over these lost lands, being crushed by their enemy. He denied their request and sees their destruction; but grieves for those who don't choose to follow Him. So worth remembering.)
  • the shouting over your summer fruits and your harvest have fallen away
  • gladness and joy taken from the fruit field and vineyards
  • no wine
  • again, grieving for Moab from the oracle

So it will come about when Moab presents himself, when he wearies himself upon his high place, and comes to his sanctuary to pray, that he will not prevail.

Isaiah 16:12

Verses 13-14

The oracle ends in verse 12 and the final verses are directly from Isaiah.

In verse 13 he confirms that this oracle is from the Lord.

in verse 14 Isaiah has one last message for Moab from the Lord- "Within three years, as a hired man would count them, the glory of Moab will be degraded along with all his great population, and his remnant will be very small and impotent.

These are brutal and disheartening predictions and judgements, for sure; but I can't help notice the different tone the Lord uses for Moab. Nowhere is his judgement of Babylon or the others does the Lord openly express the grief and personal sadness HE will feel. He has them openly mocking the Babylonian king, but here, it's the sad shaking of the head as a Father reviews the final end of a son that didn't come home changed as the prodigal did. He even promises them a remnant, which the others receiving judgement did not hear.

In his commentary, Be Comforted, Warren Wiersbe points out that, in Moab's pride, they wanted Judah's salvation; but not Judah's God. They wanted salvation on their own terms. A trap we should all look out for.

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